Confession: This post will be a gushingly (I mean gushing) positive review of what I would easily say is now one of my favorite restaurants in Manila. So much of that has to do with the food…so much of it has to do with the ambiance…and so much more of it happens to do with Chef Vinny.
Nino and I don’t usually eat out when it comes to Italian restaurants. I definitely don’t want to go out to restaurant and feel like I wasted my time and money because I could make something better at home. I like to cook Italian (American Italian) food because it’s my comfort food. From simple zucchini, tomatoes and eggs, to the more elaborate stewed “Sunday Gravy” (that can be made on other days as well) which takes an entire day to perfect, is not only what makes my tummy happy…but my soul as well. Italian American food is my SOUL food.
I have to admit that when Maita from The Moment Group invited me to try out the new restaurant in their group, I was curious. I did a little research and saw that there were some New Yorkers behind the Linguini Fini brand which originated from Hong Kong, AND there was in fact an Italian American at the helm, as the executive chef in the kitchen.
Because my friend Jane was also supposed to try out Linguini Fini too, Maita was gracious enough to schedule our visit to the newest addition to the Megamall Fashion Hall together. Yahoo for foodie friends and trying out new places together!
So, I’m convinced that Jane and I make a fabulous team when trying out new restos. While we were texting each other about the restaurant, she had already researched the menu. Between her research about the menu, other bloggers’ posts and photos on IG, and my research about the people behind the scenes, I think we had a great preliminary understanding of what Linguini Fini was all about when we sat down to break bread with Carissa from The Moment Group.
The Moment Group was founded and is owned by Abba Nappa, Eliza Antonio, and Jon Syjuco. They are responsible for bringing good food to Manila in the form of many restaurants your might already know, like Bistro Du Vin, Manam, Cue, 8 Cuts, Burgerbar, Q Daddy and Phat Pho. The newest addition of Linguini Fini is the only Italian American restaurant in this diverse group of eateries.
The entrance to the restaurant on the third floor is open and inviting. Guests can see the action going on in the kitchen and it’s clear to see even on their first day (when I was invited to come and visit), that this restaurant will surely be a success.
Nino and I were a little late to our lunch date, but as soon as we sat down we could see that we were in for a treat because the Antipasto was already on the table! Carissa from The Moment Group was able to talk to us a little bit about Chef Vinny, and she was also able to explain the concept behind Linguini Fini. We discussed the most popular items on the menu, and she was sure to offer her suggestions of which dishes we absolutely should NOT miss.
Because I knew I wanted to meet the Chef behind it all, and because I had already researched and saw some pics of my paisan, I recognized Chef Vinny right away. He was super hands on in the kitchen because it was the first day that they were open for business.
That didn’t stop him from sitting and chatting with us, once he saw that things were moving smoothly through the lunch service. When it came time to sit down and enjoy dessert, he made sure that we tried his favorite dessert which is his take on the classic American favorite…S’MORES.
Dessert at Linguini Fini did NOT disappoint.
BUT of all the desserts…this was my favorite…not just because of the dramatic way in which it’s served, but because clearly S’Mores are comfort soul food as well…
There are so many things I LOVED about this place.
- The graffiti like artwork reminded me of the spray painted work you would see along some of the major roads leading to and in between the five boroughs.
- The reference to Filipino culture.
- The freshest of ingredients sourced from here in the Philippines which also in turn reduces the carbon footprint of a restaurant.
- The philosophy of using “The Nose to Tail” in many of the dishes means that nothing goes to waste.
- The HOUSE MADE pasta which is fresh EVERYDAY.
- The OBVIOUS Italian American/NEW YORK influence in the dishes that incorporate Philippine specialties and flavors.
- The attentiveness of the staff (even on the first day when it was super crazy busy!) which makes me feel like I’m in a familiar place.
- The comfort which comes from my kind of SOUL food…
- Chef Vinny who is not only funny, knows what he’s talking about in the kitchen, but was a sweet reminder of the no nonsense way in which me and my cousins can hang out and shoot the $*IT.
Ok. ENOUGH gushing. Go try Linguini Fini’s out in the Megamall Fashion Hall. Thank me later.
Would I visit again?
Level 3, SM Megamall Fashion Hall
Facebook: Linguini Fini Manila